Malaysiakini News

The fault, dear friends, lies in democracy

Hazlan Zakaria  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT In the election of Donald Trump as the US president, we see how democracy and its institutions have both at once succeeded and failed.

This is because while democratic institutions seem to have alienated the middle- and lower-classes and failed to truly listen to them, know their problems and solve it, democratic elections also empowered the electorate to stick it to "The Man" so to speak.

It is a symptom that is prevalent in many parts of the world today as democratic governments struggle to cope with economic and social woes.

If the surprise result of the US presidential election showcased one thing, it is this failure of democratic systems to represent the people as it should, though it did in the end became an extension of the people's political will.

As the people used the very outlet open to them, the ballot, to punish those they think are responsible - the political establishment in general.

Ironically, the fact that the system is broken when it comes to representation, is underscored by the fact that it does work exceptionally well to allow the electorate to upend the system on its head.

This resulted in Trump pulling off what many describe as a stunning and unexpected win in the recently-concluded US presidential election, having trounced his Democrat opponent, everybody's darling and establishment favourite Hillary Clinton.

Trump's middle America appeal

Experts have pointed out that this was mainly due to Trump's ability to speak to the suffering common man and woman, and embody their fears of immigrants and foreigners stealing American wealth and jobs.

He was as rough as the blue collars, as quick to mouth expletives as a typical person on the street and as critical of the white-collar elite.

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